If you, as I know of names like Andre The Giant, Hulk Hogan, Mick Foley and The Undertaker then you also remember the golden era in professional freestyle wrestling. This time I have had the honor to test WWE 2K Battlegrounds which is a game developed by Saber Interactive in collaboration with 2K Sports.
As usual, I started with “Career Mode” and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised when I was met by a completely different approach to career mode than what I am used to seeing. This story begins with Paul Heyman (legendary freestyle agent) “pitching” an idea for Vince McMahon (CEO of WWE), to go on a recruitment tour to find new talent for the sport.
To make sure he gets the right kind of talent, Paul enlists the help of WWE veteran “Stone Cold” Steve Austin as a talent scout. You get to follow the talents that Steve finds along the way through a series of matches, which they must win to get to WWE. What is different about this career situation compared to what I am used to is that we get to follow this journey in comic book form; in short, there are no animated sequences in the story, but like a comic book, you have to read box by box to keep up with the story. In my opinion, this is an ingenious idea after the developers fell head over heels with the animated sequences in WWE 2K20 that had all kinds of bugs you could imagine. The story is entertaining and well executed.
If we are going to talk about the gameplay graphics, it is not realistic at all, but that is not the intention either, they have made a total turn from 2K20 and chosen to “cartoonize” the whole game. This makes all more than 70 playable superstars from past and present easy to recognize, and is a mix between Funko POP! Characters and a traditional Nickedock.
If you do not want to play career mode, you can choose to play a wide selection of match types such as: Steel Cage, Fatal Four Way, Tag Team, Royal Rumble, or the brand new Battlegrounds Challenge. In these modes, you can use your created character or select one of the playable characters already in the gallery. I really liked playing Royal Rumble where I got to experience the cult wrestling phenomenon, which means that a new wrestler enters the ring every 90 seconds until you reach 30 participants.
To talk a little about what was not so good, we can start with the online, multiplayer mode. If you want to buy the game only to use this mode, it is not worth it. I tried several times but was never matched against anyone. which may be due to the fact that not many people play online or if the matching function itself has a problem.
The second thing I was disappointed with is, hold on to your… microtransactions, microtransactions everywhere. I mentioned before that there are 70 playable characters in the game which is really impressive, the problem is that there are only just over 20 playable from the start. Yes, you can wear game hours to earn credits and unlock them all, but you will probably get tired before you do.
The last thing I was a little disappointed with is that you can create your own wrestler and choose between the five different classes he or she should be: Powerhouse, Brawler, Technician, High-Flyer or All-Rounder. I thought the creation function is ok, but once you have done that, it is not playable in career mode.
If I ignore the negative things, which I still did not think were huge, then I have to say that the game is childishly fun – so much so that I sat for several hours and played this and laughed to myself like a psychic. This took me back to my childhood when I actually sat and watched WWE on TV. If you appreciate arcade games, this is definitely an entertaining game.